Best Guitar Pedals For Blues – 2019 Complete Round-up

Purists may say that you do not need a pedal to craft the stripped-down sounds of a blues guitar, and they may be right. However, adding in a pedal or two to help your sound stand out in a sea of other blues guitar players could not hurt either. With a little restraint and a basic understanding of what pedals you want to use, you can build a sound that anyone who is listening knows is yours. 

Now, with that said, there are a lot of pedals to choose from, and the mission to find the ones that enhance your bluesy sound may seem like a never-ending process. This could lead to frustration and anxiety, and though that might make your songs a little more bluesy, it is not going to help you make your decision any quicker. 

So, we have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best guitar pedals for blues available in 2019. Along with this, we have pulled together some information that will help you in the decision-making process. Hopefully, when you are done with this guide, you will feel ready to make your choice and get to riffing those sweet blues solos you have floating around in your musician's brain.

Comparison of the Best Guitar Pedals For Blues

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal

  • Best guitar pedals for blues overall
  • Enhanced responsiveness and transparent overdrive
  • Ability to choose between true bypass and buffered bypass
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Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal

  • Built-in FET Preamp
  • Enhanced levels of gain up to +20dB
  • Designed with internal switches for bass boost and bright
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BOSS SD-1

  • Best guitar pedals for blues for the money
  • Warm crunch from a clean overdrive sound
  • Multiple controls of enhanced sound crafting capability
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Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

  • Best overdrive pedal for blues
  • Built with a true bypass mode for better sound quality
  • Outstanding midrange growl and expressive touch sensitivity
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Dunlop GCB95

  • Best Wah Pedal for Blues
  • Constructed of durable, well-made material for better durability
  • Designed with a 100k ohm Hot Potz Potentiometer for more ability to craft the Wah sound
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Joyo JF-12

  • Best fuzz pedal for blues
  • Designed with a mid-cut switch for better sound crafting
  • Constructed with controls for both distortion and octaves
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Are Pedals Important While Playing Blues?

Though many guitarists feel that you can get the perfect blues sound with the right guitar and amp, there are many benefits you can take advantage of if you choose to add a good pedal for your playing style. 

Here are a few of those benefits:

  • You have the ability to switch between a wide range of tones easily and quickly, which will allow you to play and have access to any type of sound you are looking for.
  • Special effects become available to you. Things like fuzz or wah-wah cannot be crafted just for a guitar alone.
  • If you want a more modern blues sound, then incorporating a few guitar pedals will help you achieve your goal.
  • With the right pedal, you can enhance your guitar and amp’s natural sound and boost areas where they have a weakness to craft a fuller sound.

What Makes These the Best Pedals of the Year?

There are several factors to consider, but we will be taking a look at some of the most important ones. These are the factors we used to craft our list and the ones that you should always have in mind as you peruse any pedal selection.

Here are the factors we think should really matter when you are in the process of making this important musical decision:

Type

There are many types of pedals available on the market today. Of these pedals, there are a few key ones that are great for blues musicians to consider adding to their kit. Here are the best types of pedals for the blues guitarist:

Overdrive

Blues has embraced the warm, yet overdriven, tone since the beginning. With musicians like Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson making the sound popular, you can see why those that idolize these blues masters have stuck with the traditional sound. Though you can create a bit of overdrive with your amp and some clever settings, adding an overdrive pedal will free up your amp to do its job and leave the special sounds to your pedals.

Boost

Though this may not seem like an obvious choice of pedal, the treble boost can give you a bit of the rock-blues sound like the bands of the '60s and '70s. This will add some heat to your sound and bring it up to the rich sound of traditional blues.

Fuzz

This is another great option if you are looking for a bit more of that rock-blues vibe like that of Jimi Hendrix and even Heart. This will add a bit of distortion, but not the typical distortion. In fact, if you want fuzz, you will have to invest in a fuzz pedal, as it cannot be created without one. You can even use the fuzz pedal in your high levels to give you a bit of a similar sound to an octave pedal.

Wah-Wah

You may also know this by the name Crybaby! This pedal is especially popular in rock and rock blues. Of all the pedals we have mentioned, this one and the overdrive are blues staples nowadays. This pedal creates that modulating tone that sounds like your guitar is crying. It can lend a note of seriousness and emotion, but it cannot be created without the use of a wah-wah pedal.

True Bypass or Buffered Bypass

There is no right answer on which option is better; both have their merits. With true bypass, you will have less coloration of the tone. When the pedal is not in use, the sound goes straight through to the amp without any sound alteration. With the buffered bypass, there will be some coloration and a bit of an EQ boost. This is because the sound is still working its way through the internal circuitry. The choice is really up to your preference and the sound you are aiming to craft.

Power Source

Do you need a pedal that comes with a built-in power source? Will you want to add another cable to your kit? Figuring out what power source you want to go with is crucial. You will have pedals that are powered by battery or AC or even both. We would suggest looking for one that is a combination. That way, you can use your judgment on what will suit the gig the best.

Review of the Best Guitar Pedals for Blues

Now that you have some knowledge under your belt, it is time to take an in-depth look at our list of the best guitar pedals for blues:

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal

PROS

  • Quality build
  • Can be used as a booster
  • Excellent price versus value
  • Internal built-in power supply
  • Produces rich harmonics and overtones

CONS

  • Lack of individual bass and treble control
  • Lacking some sound quality in midrange harmonics

What Recent Buyers Report

When you look at what recent buyers are saying, you can quickly see why we made this our overall best option. They rave about the clean boost and the easy inclusion in a pedal chain. Though they do say that there is a bit of coloration to the tone, buyers still feel like it is well worth a look.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Soul Food Distortion Pedal has a lot of great features, and the build is durable, but the thing that stands out most is the versatility of tone shaping. With the option to choose true or buffered bypass, you have a lot of control over the final sound.

Who Will Use This Most

There are many blues players that would get a good return on their investment if they added this pedal to their kit. The people that we see getting the most from it are beginners, as well as blues composers. The simplistic and easy-to-use pedal is great for the beginner just finding their sound. As for the composer, with the versatility of sound and tonal quality, they will be able to put together a song that has a unique edge and sound.

Bottom Line

In the end, the versatility of control and the effects included in the build of this pedal make it none other than the best overall pedal for the blues guitarist.

Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal

PROS

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Amazing price versus value
  • Produces high-quality sound
  • DIP switch built-in for tone and EQ control
  • Compact design with a high-grade preamp

CONS

  • Durability issues
  • Small controls due to the compact design

What Recent Buyers Report

This model shines because of its clean boost and full sound. That is, of course, if you listen to what people who have already purchased it have said. Though there are a few that feel it can get a bit aggressive in the higher level, all in all, this pedal from Xotic has guitarists the world over raving about its performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pedal has a lot going for it, but it finds itself at such a high point on our list because of the high-grade preamp and the true bypass construction. These both help with superior sound quality and a clean crisp sound that helps fill the room with your spectacular sounds.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal offers a superior versatility of sound shaping, and that makes this a great pedal for the studio musician. It will allow this musician to tailor their sound to whatever sound they need at the moment, and it allows them to do so with ease.

Bottom Line

The design and build of this pedal easily make this one of the best options on the market today. Xotic is one of the brands that has built a reputation for quality products at an affordable price, and this model definitely lives up to that.

Best for the Money:
BOSS SD-1

BOSS Super Overdrive Guitar Pedal (SD-1)

PROS

  • High-quality and affordable
  • Compact overall build for better space efficiency
  • Large build footswitch for easier use without nudging knobs
  • Can be used as a signal booster and works well in your pedal chain

CONS

  • Lack of a true bypass mode in build
  • Decreased effects from the simplistic design

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the quality of sustain and the lack of any feedback. Even with that, though, there are some who feel that the pedal is a little too transparent, but they tend to overlook that for the benefits that they get by having the pedal in their kit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The biggest thing that stands out to us is the value you get for such a small price tag. At this price, there is no way that you would expect to have the overdrive quality that this pedal offers, and that makes this easily the most budget-friendly high-quality option on our list.

Who Will Use This Most

When you’re a beginner, any new tech can be daunting, but, if you want a killer sound, you will want to invest in a good pedal. This unit’s large footswitch will allow the beginner to switch easily between using an effect and not using an effect, so that their practices garner as much learning as possible.

Bottom Line

Built on the reputation of Boss, this model brings with it the quality of sound and build we have all come to associate with the BOSS name. On top of that, the price tag allows for even the blues guitarist who is strapped for cash to add a touch of something to their sound.

Best Overdrive Pedal for Blues:
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Designed with excellent responsiveness
  • Allows for amazing sensitivity to picking
  • Offers a natural and organic tonal quality
  • Produces the classic tone you’d expect from a TS pedal

CONS

  • Lack of built-in power supply
  • Issues with the durability of the unit

What Recent Buyers Report

There is nothing that any of the recent buyers can say that is bad about this pedal. In fact, when you read their reviews, you see that they absolutely love the bluesy low gain tones and the tonal range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us, the tonal quality is definitely something that stands out to us, but so does the responsiveness of this amazing pedal. These two combined make this pedal one of the best overdrive pedals we have looked at.

Who Will Use This Most

Touring guitarists sometimes get lost in the mix of the band, but, when you are playing blues, the guitarist should stand out. That is why we suggest the gigging professional invest in this pedal and make your sound stand out above the rest of the band when you need to.

Bottom Line

Ibanez has crafted a pedal that delivers the traditional TS sound, and that can be a great advantage to any blues player who is building their sound and skills.

Best Wah Pedal for Blues:
Dunlop GCB95

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

PROS

  • Versatility of use
  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Original Crybaby effect pedal
  • Exceptional price versus value
  • Well-built and designed for optimized durability

CONS

  • Rather large in size and takes up space
  • Simplistic design, fewer effects than other models

What Recent Buyers Report

When you talk to guitarists that have invested in this pedal, you will find that they find it easy to use and extremely well-built. There are a few issues with the input becoming a bit jittery after extended use, but that is not a universal complaint.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Ultimately, when you are looking for the wah-wah sound, why not go for the original? That being said, the high level of sound customization makes this unit stand out to us, and it allows it to stand out above many of its competitors.

Who Will Use This Most

There are many guitarists that will be able to get a lot of use out of this pedal. The one that will get the most, though, is the solo road musician that plays small venues. The enhancement of sound and the effect will allow them to impact their audience more deeply with their sound through the use of this traditional effect.

Bottom Line

One of the most traditional sounds for the modern blues player, it finds its roots in the methods of the masters, and so why wouldn’t you include this pedal in your gear?

Best Fuzz Pedal for Blues:
Joyo JF-12

Joyo JF-12 Voodoo Octava Guitar Pedal

PROS

  • Great price versus value
  • Simplistic design, easy to use and set-up
  • Octave control to help dirty up your sound
  • Designed with multiple effects for customizable sound
  • Excellent tonal control due to multiple effects designed into the pedal

CONS

  • Ineffective for long jam sessions due to stability issues
  • Problems with maintaining centered volume, which can distort the sound

What Recent Buyers Report

Though some may find that it gets a little muddy when using the octave effect with chords, that seems to be the only big concern. In the end, most users love the tone and fuzz quality, as well as the customization ability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When we looked at this pedal, we loved the customizable sound and the fuzz quality. These two features will ensure that you get the sound that you are aiming for with ease. Plus, it has octave and distortion effects that allow you to really fine tune the sound you would like to hear from your guitar when playing blues music.

Who Will Use This Most

This is another pedal that, because of its customization and ability to fill a room, would be a perfect inclusion for any solo artist who is playing those small venues on a regular basis. However, if you are just starting out learning blues guitar and want a cool fuzz effect to help develop your personal style, give this pedal a try.

Bottom Line

This pedal looks amazing and enhances your sound with ease and a level of customization that is simply outstanding. With both the distortion and the octave effects, you can add some sizzling fuzz to your tunes, letting that sultry, soulful blues melody sing through.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Blues Pedal?

We have compiled some great options for you, but why should you invest in them? What do you get from using a pedal for your blues sound? Here are a few things that definitely fall into the category of benefits and things you should know before buying your pedal:

Sound

You can go with the traditional sound that is rich and fully crafted solely by your amp. However, if you want to have a little versatility in blues style and craft a sound that is a bit more modern, including a pedal is the only way you will be able to reach that goal. By adding a pedal, you will be able to leave your mark on the blues genre by building a sound unique to you and your music.

Budget

Though you may have to add a little bit to your budget to be able to craft your own sound, it is well worth it. There are many great pedals that can still be added without breaking the bank, as well.

Portability

Sure, you can play in the post to create these effects, but then how do you mimic them when you are playing live? With these pedals, you will have access to all these effects while you are running from gig to gig. The portability of these pedals makes this easily one of the best things you get from using a pedal for your blues.

Conclusion

In the sections above, we have taken a look at some of the crucial topics you will need to consider in order to make the right decision for your sound. We also gave you a list of some of the best guitar pedals for blues. There are many other options, and the one you choose comes down to the sound you are trying to create. 

In the end, we definitely hope that, with all of the knowledge provided above, we have left you ready to make your choice. Hopefully, we have also helped make you ready to tell your story through the deep, rich, and soul-stirring sounds that have become known as blues.